When life in the workplace is all about results and outcomes, it’s easy to adopt the same mind-set in other venues as well. Thus, we have parents who scream at the umpire at Little League games, or browbeat their kids into getting straight A’s, or harp on the players they coach in Pee Wee football about being “mentally tough.” At home, in the limited time left for family, they’re tempted to criticize if the house isn’t just so or to cram in everything they want their spouses or kids to know, instead of taking time to build the kind of family relationships that God intends.
In our society, whether we’ll admit it or not, the prevailing attitude is that the ends justify the means. We tell ourselves that “quality time” can make up for a lack of quantity time and that as long as we achieve whatever temporary, worldly goal we’re pursuing, all is well. Just keep climbing. We think our spouses and kids need us first to be successful, and then we’ll have time to be an important part of their lives.
Are our values misplaced?
We rationalize this kind of fuzzy thinking until we really begin to believe that our example, our impact, and our value to others—family, friends, and coworkers— are measured by what we produce and by the worldly things we accumulate. Our society loves and respects awards, degrees, money, status, achievement, and image. Just look at the accolades we heap upon business tycoons, movie stars, professional athletes…and football coaches.
But without meaningful relationships, relationships we invest ourselves in, what does it all amount to? That’s an easy one to answer: dust.
Are we focused on what matters?
If you take only one thing from this post, let it be this: Relationships are ultimately what matter—our relationships with God and with other people. The key to becoming, what I call a mentor leader, is learning how to put other people first. You see, the question that burns in the heart of the mentor leader is simply this: What can I do to make other people better, to make them all that God created them to be?
How are we influencing those around us?
A life spent focused on things of the world will not add value to the lives of others. Instead of asking, how can I lead my company, my team, or my family to a higher level of success? We should be asking ourselves, how do others around me flourish as a result of my leadership? Do they flourish at all? How does my leadership, my involvement in their lives—in whatever setting we’re in—have a positive and lasting influence and impact on them?
Are we taking every opportunity to have a positive impact?
Leadership is not dependent on a formal position or role. Simply stated, leadership is influence. By influencing another person, we lead that person. Leadership is not dependent on a formal position or role. We can find opportunities for leadership wherever we go. Likewise, leadership is not based on manipulation or prescription, though sometimes it may appear that way to an outside observer. By keeping our motives aligned with doing the best for those around us, we will keep ourselves focused on being a positive influence.
Sound off: If influence, involvement, improvement, and impact are core principles of mentor leadership, how can we make them central to everything we do?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you think you are influencing the people around you? How would you like to influence them?”